This time last year, our retired-science-teacher-neighbour, showed my fascinated children empty cicada shells clinging to gum trees next to the house, explaining that as a child, she would collect them, spray them gold and put them on the Christmas tree. I smiled sweetly, telling the boys what a lovely idea that was, all the while delighting in the fact that we were bound for England in a matter of days, for the whole of December, and would therefore never have to contemplate bringing the discarded bodies into our home.

Flash forward to a month ago; "Mum! Mummmmm!! Look how many cicadas we've collected for the tree this year! We've got a whole box!". Yay.

I forgot (couldn't bare) to take a 'before' photo so have borrowed this one from Steve Creek. This is what they look like when you find their hollow, molted skins, eerily static.

After peering at a pile of these through the side of a tupperware for a number of weeks, I finally relented and they received their luxe makeover yesterday.

They now cling incongruously to the boys' 90cm plastic tree, with a selection of Oz (as in, Return To) baubles and ribbons to detract from the poised insects. While I might have dreamt of something rather more beautiful for our Australian tree, the boys have never been more enchanted. Qué será.

Haaaaappy Advent!